Published on September 6th, 2019 | by Stephen Barrington0
Jesus heals many, Luke 4:38-44. September 4, 2019
Morena whanau, rangimarie ki a koutout katoa. Here we are again on a Wednesday morning with the gospel text to reflect on, Luke 4:38-44 this time.
The last three days have seen us follow Jesus through his first sermon at Nazareth and travel up to Capernaum where he is now and was based for a while. These have been miraculous times where people have been freed from demonic possession and Jesus has been freed from an angry mob.
On leaving the synagogue today he arrives at Peter’s house to find Pete’s mum very unwell. Just like at the synagogue Jesus rebukes her fever – and it goes away straight away – she is healed so quickly she stands up and serves them dinner! Then news gets around that he is at this house and loads of people turn up to be healed etc. Many are healed and people begin to call out that he is the ‘Son of God’.
In recent months two close friends have died from cancer, you probably know others who have been on the same road yourself. A pastor friend was also discussing the lack of healing around some people’s awful situations that he is aware of. Together we are asking why can Jesus rebuke these strange illnesses and see them gone and yet we seem to see ongoing illness, despite our prayers! Then I was visiting a mate who had just got out of hospital, when he blurts out that I must have a healing presence as he felt better and in less pain from our time together. No prayer, just chilling and he is not particularly religious or anything.
Jesus asks these people naming him as God’s Son to please stop doing that, and at the first opportunity he heads away to a quiet place. On being found the next morning he says politely that he is off again……
This work of Jesus is part of his announcing that the Kingdom of God is breaking into the world and that things can be different, that they will be different when he is around. Some think that if he stayed at Capernaum the place would have got overrun by people looking for this messiah and that Capernaum could not have coped. Jesus said at the time that he needed to go and visit all the villages and share his good news, probably to protect Capernaum from becoming a tourist hot spot as well as keeping ahead of the authorities who were now aware of his transformational impact on people.
Today Jesus still offers transformation and hope, despite the times we don’t see the type of healing we may desire. Our picture shows some of us leaving our recent hui/retreat/run on a local marae. From the reports of this time together in an indigenous context it seems some of our people were not only encouraged but made well, even healed from this time together as a part of ‘Christ’s body’. In some intangible but real ways transformation and hope of things being better, of being more like the kingdom dream Jesus has given us, happened.
We need to enjoy these times of healing, restoration and new life but we must not get stuck at that place. The feedback and praise can enlarge our ego’s and then the temptation can be to try to manufacture, to recreate that experience time and time again. The crowds came and had a good time, we must keep doing this we think. This is a trap that keeps us off the road and safely out of the way. Today Jesus models for us the way out of this trap – he goes and prays alone, away from the crowds and when they do find him he is ready to move out to the villages. Today Jesus is still calling us to pray secretly and alone; and then to get out on the road with him. Follow me, be my presence of healing and restoration in every place…..
May we be find continuing on with Jesus out onto the road together, looking for adventure and the coming of His Kingdom. As we pray and desire the Kingdom of God to break into our world we will see it become reality as we go together and share the hope we have.
Cheers and God’s blessing as you go….
Buckshot – Wellington chapter, New Zealand